Paper Chase


I love spending time with my mom’s book group, perusing Water for Elephants and other wonderful fiction I might have otherwise overlooked. We dissect the chapters over glasses of Chardonnay, sips of tea and mouthfuls of Charles Chocolate almonds, feeling  engaged and challenged.

Yet we have never bothered to discuss where the books themselves come from. I recently read about the Greenpeace Book Campaign, which has yielded some amazing forest-rescue results since 2000:

– 6 million books have been printed on recycled paper made from post-consumer waste;

– 9 ancient forest-friendly papers have been developed for the Canadian market;

– and 45 leading Canadian authors support to the campaign, including Margaret Atwood, Michael Ondaatje, Yann Martel and Alice Munro.

According to Greenpeace, heavy hitters like J.K. Rowling, Isabel Allende and Ian Rankin are teaming with the campaign to ensure their future books are printed on eco-sensitive paper, such as recycled and Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certified paper.

The book industry currently prints most books on non-recycled paper linked to ancient forest destruction in Canada and Finland. Children’s book printers are also a concern; in South East Asia in particular, rainforest destruction is an issue. While the biggest inroads have been witnessed in Canada (Random House Canada and Penguin Canada are among 72 publishers promising to use eco-friendly papers) European publishers are following suit, including Egmont in the U.K. and Random House Germany. J.K. Rowling’s pressure has moved France and Belgium to print the latest Harry Potter book on FSC certified paper. Cheers, Harry! We avid readers in the States should question whether the publishers we support are coming around, as well. It’s a great book group question!

Image: cindiann

Luanne Bradley

Luanne Sanders Bradley is the West coast Editor at EcoSalon and currently resides in San Francisco, California.